London and Scotland Day 1
The Queen is dead, long live the king!! An unexpected and shocking beginning to our trip, this life changing event changes so much for the UK,and,as such, already has,and most likely, will continue to affect our trip. But, challenges aside, our first day in London was a good one.
Traveling always presents challenges, but the trip over went smoothly except for a small hitch trying to get into a restaurant in our somewhat long layover in Charlotte. Not enough help and a seemingly insouciant attitude towards customers did not make our layover easy. But the flight to London was somewhat hassle free.
Our Uber driver was listening to BBC commentary on the radio. It is nonstop here— the funeral plans, King Charles’ every word dissected, the tributes and outpourings of the commoners as well as the messages from every dignitary on earth. But mostly, everyday life is going on. A few cancellations— sports teams mostly, but other than daily moments of silence, gun salutes, and the like, people are going about their business.
So, upon arriving at our hotel,(Hilton Tower Bridge), we cleaned up as best as we could since our room was not ready, and found our way down the block crossing the magnificent Tower Bridge on our way to the Tower of London. This bridge is so iconic, took pictures from every possible angle.
The Tower of London is actually many different buildings - a palace, fortress, armory, prison and vault - all steeped in rich history and you could spend a day here.
We started with the Crown Jewels, as recommended ( the line was huge an hour later). Unfortunately no pictures were allowed. What made it even more interesting is that almost all of them are used in the coronation ceremony which now will happen sometime very soon.
We saw the famous Beefeaters, the White Tower which contained armor from Henry the Eighth and artillery of all types, as well as Traitor’s Gate and the Bloody Tower which portrayed the more gruesome side.
The audio guide was filled with stories about royalty, prisoners, and history. If we hadn’t hit a wall, based on a 15 hour travel day with little sleep, we would have stayed longer.
Followed the " river walk" after crossing back on the bridge, and saw Londoners enjoying the day, beautiful modern buildings along the River, and some rather unusually dressed locals posing away.
After a well deserved afternoon rest and getting settled in,we ended up at an incredible Indian restaurant called Gunpowder. They were celebrating the Southern Indian province of Goa with a special menu. Highly unusual and creative food included fish like soft shelled crab, and a " doughnut" of ground venison, delicious spices,rolled in vermicelli. A great find!